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Majoring in Philosophy - FAQ

Astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson thinking in space---self-portrait from Wikimedia Commons

Why should I major in philosophy?  

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  • Philosophy majors and minors have the opportunity to ponder and explore the deepest questions about the world.  Is there a God?  Does life have an ultimate purpose?   How can we be sure that we're not dreaming or in the Matrix?  What does it mean to be human—as opposed to being an animal or a robot?   Do we have free will?   What are the best and happiest kinds of lives?   And much more.  College is one of the only times in your life that you can give these questions the serious reflection and scrutiny they deserve.  

Yeah, but all that wisdom doesn't pay the bills, right?  

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  • Wrong.  The average philosophy major will earn a higher mid-career salary ($81,200) than someone who got a degree in Business Management ($72,100), Marketing ($79,600), Health Care Administration ($60,600), or Education at ($52,000).  
  • Why is that?   In our increasingly computerized world, the technical skills you acquire in your college coursework will already be obsolete by the time you graduate.  (Sorry, it’s true.)  Philosophy majors learn valuable skills that are essential for any profession--skills like critical thinking, developing arguments, and expressing them in writing.  The rigor, creativity, and self-understanding you earn by studying philosophy will prepare you for this dynamic labor market.   Maybe that's why people like George Soros, Texans RB Arian Foster, Stephen Colbert, Steve Martin, Alex Trebeck, Bruce Lee, Phil Jackson, and the CEOs of Hewlett Packard, Flickr, Paypal, Overstock, and Time Warner were all Philosophy majors.

What if I want to go to graduate school?  

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  • We got you covered.  Thinking about business school?  Philosophy majors outperform economics, statistics, finance, and accounting majors on the GMAT.  Only engineering, physics, and math majors do better on the test that gets you into a top business program.
  • Law school?  Philosophers outperform every other major except physics majors on the LSAT.  Political Science students --right now the most common pre-law major--come in at a distant 16th.
  • Med School?  Philosophy majors have the highest acceptance rate of any major to medical schools. 
  • And on the GRE?  Well, that's easy: philosophy majors have the best GRE combined score of any major.   

This sounds interesting, but I’m not sure I want to major yet.  What should I do?  

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  • Start by taking a couple of Philosophy courses to fulfill the university core requirements. PHIL 1321 – Logic can fulfill your Math/Reasoning requirement, PHIL 1361 – Philosophy and the Arts can fulfill your Visual and Performing Arts requirement, and PHIL 1334 – Intro to the Mind can be used to fulfill your Writing in the Disciplines requirement.  PHIL 1301 (Intro to Philosophy) and PHIL 1305 (Intro to Ethics) fulfill the Humanities requirement (or as it’s now called the Language, Philosophy, and Culture requirement).
  • And because a B.A. Philosophy requires only 27 hours of major coursework, taking on and completing a second major within 4 years is a viable option.

I want to be a major, but my parents look at me like I’m crazy.  What can I tell them?  

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Well, if they’re not convinced by the information above, give them some of these articles to read. 

I’d like some more information, who should I talk with?  

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  • For information about how to fit the philosophy major into your degree, please contact Bobby Sue Schindler (518 AH) at bobby
  • For information about the benefits of philosophy and the courses in our program, contact Tamler Sommers (514 AH) (
  • And check out the UH undergraduate philosophy club!  They meet every other Friday to talk about ethics, current events, philosophy of mind, and philosophy related movies.  For more information on that contact Tamler Sommers or Sam Scarber.